Syria has the Mediterranean Sea to its west while the southwest areas border Lebanon and Israel. To the north is Turkey, Iraq on the east and Jordan to its south. The coastal area is a narrow plain behind which is a range of mountains. The Syrian desert is in the east while the Jebel Druze Range is in the south. Syria lost the Golan Heights to Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
Syria - Facts and Figures
- Official name is Syrian Arab Republic.
- Syria’s terrain is mostly desert plateau, semi-arid with a narrow coastal plain and mountains in the west.
- Its climate is mostly typical desert, hot and dry. Winters are rainy along the coast with snow sometimes affecting capital Damascus.
- Syria’s has 2,253 kilometers of land boundaries and 193 kilometers of coastline.
- Area: 185,180 sq km, of which 184,050 sq km is land and 1,130 sq km is water.
- Syria was administered by the French after the break-up of the Ottoman Empire until independence in 1946.
- Population is about 19 million with Arabs making up 90%. The rest comprise Kurds, Armenians and other races.
- The official language is Arabic. Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian, French, and English are also spoken.
- About 74% of Syrians are Muslims, mainly Sunni Alawites and Druze. Other religions are Christianity (10%) and a small community of Jews.
- Capital is Damascus. Other major cities include Aleppo, Homs, Latakia and Hama.
- Major exports are crude oil, petroleum products, fruits, vegetables, cotton fiber, clothing, meat, livestock and wheat.
- The local currency is the Syrian pound.
- Agricultural products are wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas, olives, sugar beets, beef, mutton, eggs, poultry and milk.
- Major trading partners include Italy, France, Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, China, Russia, United States and South Korea.
- Government is based on a military republic.